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June 1, 2013 Vol. 68 No. 10 Back to Bulletin Main Page

UNION OF THE COMOROS: A New Member for OAPI


The African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) announced that the Union of the Comoros—comprising the islands of Grand Comore (Ngazidja), Anjouan (Nzwani) and Mohéli (Mwali)—ratified the Bangui Accord on March 25, 2013. The country became a full member of OAPI as of May 25, 2013, bringing the total number of member states to 17.

The Bangui Accord of 1977 (a revision of the Libreville Agreement of 1962, which established OAPI) constitutes the uniform legislation for all the member states of OAPI. Registrations made via OAPI are valid throughout the territory of all the member states; there are no national trademark registration systems coexisting with the regional system. Previously, the Islands had no IP laws, and those seeking to protect their rights in this jurisdiction could do so only by publishing a cautionary notice. Now, however, all trademarks filed with OAPI on or after May 25, 2013, have full force and effect in the Comoro Islands.

With respect to existing OAPI registrations filed before May 25, 2013, extension to the Comoro Islands will take place automatically on their next renewal after that date, and the extension of rights will be effective from the date of renewal.

For those wishing to extend their existing OAPI rights to the Comoro Islands before those rights become due for renewal, it is now possible to file a request for such extension with OAPI, according to the procedure set forth in the Implementing Regulations.

At present, OAPI includes the following member states: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

© 2013 International Trademark Association